How Fill the Hill impacts CDIS students

Hundreds of plastic pink flamingos adorn Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of the annual “Fill the Hill” event. (Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison)

Fill the Hill, the annual alumni fundraiser now in its 11th year, is a vibrant display of Badger pride. Each fall, a flock of bright pink plastic flamingos descends upon Bascom Hill, each one representing an investment in UW–Madison and its students. More specifically, though, every contribution goes to a specific unit within the university, such as an individual department or school.

At the School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences, we’re putting alumni contributions to work through the annual funds of our top-ranked departments. That’s because annual funds are flexible, designed to enable each department to be nimble in its use of resources. Because of their versatility, these funds support a diverse array of initiatives across Computer Sciences, Statistics, and the Information School (iSchool), preparing the next generation of leaders at the intersection of technology and humanity. 

Below are a few examples of how alumni contributions during Fill the Hill are harnessed by each department.

Gifts to Computer Sciences support:

  • scholarships for undergraduates and talented recruits to the graduate program.
  • student organizations like the Women’s Association for Computing Machinery or the Wisconsin AI Safety Initiative.
  • cutting-edge research in areas from machine learning to robotics and beyond.
  • summer research assistantships and graduate fellowships.

Gifts to Statistics support:

  • student trips to prestigious statistics conferences that help them gain exposure for their work.
  • internships offering hands-on skills and connections to industry professionals.
  • scholarships that break down financial barriers to studying statistics and data science.
  • student organizations like the Undergraduate Statistics Club and the Statistics Graduate Student Association.

Gifts to the iSchool support:

  • the new undergraduate major in Information Science, where students explore how technology and human values interact.
  • internships and practicums that provide Badgers with real-world experience to set them apart in today’s competitive job market.
  • pathbreaking research in areas like cybersecurity, medical informatics, and AI ethics.
  • scholarships for outstanding aspiring information professionals.

Yes, every gift during Fill the Hill adds a flamingo to the flock, but it also makes a statement. It shows you’re an advocate for UW–Madison students, helping them blossom into computing, data, and information leaders in a world shaped by technology.


This year’s Fill the Hill campaign was one of the most successful to date. Overall, there was a 41% increase in participation across all of our units. Additionally, every unit, as well as the School of Computer, Data, & Information Sciences saw an increase in dollars raised. These gifts will not only make a meaningful impact on our students, but will support the future of technology in Wisconsin.